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Huerco S.

Ahead of his highly anticipated live performance at the Inverted Audio curated stage “Campfire Headphase” at Farr Festival 2017, Kansas native Brian Leeds aka Huerco S. contributes the 250th mix to our podcast series with over an hours worth of unquiet electronics and outernational noise.

With an array of releases spanning boutique labels such as Future Times, Opal Tapes, Giegling and Wicked Bass plus the release of his debut album “Colonial Patterns” on Oneohtrix Point Never’s imprint Software Recording Company and his sophomore “For Those Of You Who Have Never (And Also Those Who Have)” on Proibito, Huerco S is producing some of the most original abstract electronic music of our times.

In the interview below Brian talks up his forthcoming live performance at Farr Festival and announces the launch of his own imprint “West Mineral”, in which he plans to release a record of “significantly darker, ominous even” music. Brian also shares knowledge of unheard producers and the last piece of music that totally overwhelmed him.

Interview by Tom Durston

"I see myself continuing down this path,
abstracting, arranging to oblivion."

First of all please can you describe the mix you have provided? Where was it recorded, how was it made, the reasoning behind the track list and the atmosphere created?

Hello! I’ve provided here a bit of “outernational noise” if you will, some field recordings, some old records, some new. It was done in one take in my living room using two CDJs and one turntable ran into an old Lineartech mixer. Not so much an intentional track list, more a reflection of where my head is at musically.

I’ve noticed that in some of your mixes, in particular Dolly x Red Light Radio (40mins) and Études (38mins) you have included unreleased tracks – have you sneaked in anything unreleased in your Inverted Audio mix and will these mentioned cuts see release?

I should mention that the track in question on the Études mix is not mine, rather it’s by Robert Hood “Formula Galore. I wish I made something half as good ;) For the mix for y’all there is one tune done by myself and my friend Rory O’Brien from a 4/20 jam.

What have you been up to recently that we should know about? Any progressions in making music, gigs you’ve been overwhelmed by or people / producers you’ve been hanging out with?

I’ve been on the road a ton, the feeling of constant uprooting can be violent on the psyche. I spend my time between Queens and Paris, my girlfriend lives there and I plan on moving to Paris at the end of the year. Being Euro-side will help ease my traveling woes and give me new inspiration.

To be honest I haven’t been making music as much, however I’m getting ready to start my own record imprint, West Mineral. I’d say Primavera festival in Barcelona two weeks ago had me on edge, certainly not used to playing on massive stages at 30k+ events.

Since the release of your second album on Anthony Naples’ Proibito imprint your influence has skyrocketed….and deservedly so! In your eyes and ears how has your second album developed you as a producer and what are you working on next?

Yeah I’d definitely say “For Those of You…” was a natural progression for me. Striping away the more obvious rhythmic signifiers allowed me to dive deeper in texture and “mood” for a lack of a better word. I see myself continuing down this path, abstracting, arranging to oblivion. The next record I’ll put out is significantly darker, ominous even.

On 15th July you’re headlining the Inverted Audio ambient and experimental stage “Campfire Headphase” at Farr Festival. Can you give us any insight into your live performance, the atmosphere you want to convey to the audience?

I’ll be presenting some of my latest work during this performance and like I mentioned above it’s more reduced and darker than that of “For Those of You…” or any previous work. Is it noise, is it ambient?

This is your debut appearance at Farr Festival – I’d like you to try to imagine and describe what you think the stage will be like?

I’m hoping there’s some nice foliage, maybe a little brook nearby just bubbling away. Somewhere to get lost, somewhere to be found.

Is your live set simply playing stems of tracks that you’ve previously produced or is it completely live and totally improvised?

It’s mostly stems or loops from longer jams/recordings, then processed, layered, arranged etc. I’ve been trying to incorporate more “live” elements, but I’m not necessarily concerned with it be “live,” rather I’d like to just focus on it being a presentation of my work.

Photo by Mathilde Chambon

In October you’ll play at The Barbican with the one and only GAS aka Wolfgang Voigt. You’ve previously stated that his album ‘Pop’ is significant to your personal music taste, being asked to support GAS must be an honour. Please tell us about how this show came about, what it means to you and what discourse you’ve had with Wolfgang about the show and lengths you are going to to prepare for it?

Yes, I just met Wolfgang Voigt when we played together in Barcelona and Innsbruck. I feel like at this point I’ve already had the privilege of meeting most of my idols, a truly surreal feeling. To be honest I have no idea how the booking came about other than through my agent Ollie (shout outs!).

Perhaps they saw that I was influenced by Wolfgang’s music and it seemed like a natural fit. I will say there was one odd thing about the Barbican booking, they were pretty insistent I play a set similar to “For Those of You…,” I’d hate to disappoint but I don’t play previously released material.

What’s your view on the current hype surrounding ambient music and this quote lifted from The Guardian – “Huerco S is ambient for the flat white generation.”

Had a laugh at that, similar experience with the “Outsider House” deal back in 2013. I can’t pay too much attention to that shit. I don’t think there’s any sort of revival, it’s been going on long before they came to the party and it will continue to exist well after they move on to the “NEXT BIG THING.” I had to ask someone what a flat white was hahaha.

Looking back at your discography which releases are you most proud of and why?

I’d say “A Verdigris Reader” is still one of my favourite records and maybe my most slept on. I feel like it has this particular sonic quality throughout, not why sure just feels complete.

In terms of record labels you’ve released on Software (debut album), Future Times, Proibito, Wicked Bass, Giegling and many more. Which other record labels do you want to release on and why?

Always thought a release on Mille Plateaux would be like the ultimate, but to be honest I think I’m going to hold my work tight to my chest and release it myself on West Mineral or with friends.

What was the last piece of music you listened to that completely overwhelmed your senses?

Pissgrave – “Suicide Euphoria” – I don’t really listen to house or dance music lately, perhaps ironic considering I still DJ on the regular. My teens were pretty heavy on the grindcore, screamo, hardcore tip so I’ve found myself listening to a ton of heavy music again. I think Oliver Ho actually suggested this record…big thanks for that !! PISSGRAVE !!

Will your debut digital release ever see light on vinyl? There’s a few of us that would love to have on wax!

Oh man, perhaps one day!!! It’s not super high on my list of to-do’s but it could definitely be re-visited in some time.

You are yet to receive an official music videos for your music. Is this format of interest to you and if so what would you want out of a video?

If someone would like to work with me on a video that’d be amazing, but right now it’s not something that I’m particularly focused on. Perhaps would be more keen to get something for live sets first.

Will you perform at the GAS show at the Barbican with any visuals?

Maybe ??

Which other recently discovered producers (past or present) are you currently into?

A homie showed me this dude from Tokyo called Ultrafog, ooohhhh so good!

Finally what was the last record you bought and where?

I haven’t been buying as many records lately but the last one would’ve been this compilation LP by Hypnosaurus “1991-1992” Old recordings from…you guessed it 1991 to 1992! Crazy Estonia Technoise. Copped that bad boy at Chez Emile in Lyon.

Huerco S. plays live at the Inverted Audio curated ambient + experimental stage “Campfire Headphase” on Saturday 15th July alongside Terekke, John Swing and Wolf Müller & Cass (live) at Farr Festival 2017.

Discover more about Huerco S. on Inverted Audio.